Chelsea caretaker manager Frank Lampard reviews Manchester United game
Frank Lampard has affirmed that the main reason for Chelsea’s dismal Premier League campaign is a dip in “collective standards” brought on by certain “individuals” within the squad. The interim boss gave an honest assessment of his time in charge following a 4-1 drubbing away at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Prior to the Man Utd game, Lampard claimed that his players’ standards were “dropping” and expanded on that statement in the post-match press conference.
“It’s a simple thing to say but any team that wins in the Premier League has them [standards] as a base, because without them the tactics do not matter,” he said. “Training well every day, trying to improve, being a real collective unit. There are some variables for the players, everyone talks about the bog squad and I understand that it’s hard for the coaches this year at the club – I get it because I’ve lived that for nine league games now.
“Sometimes you can say that is maybe a factor – if you want to call it an excuse – but as a player you have to put that to the side and focus on your own game. Since I’ve been in I’ve understood quickly that some of the collective standards – and it’s for the individuals within that to realise who they are – this is not a blanket, we just have to find the reasons for why the club is where it’s at, and there are many.
“It’s not just finger-pointing at the players because it’s definitely not a lack of effort this evening, but you build up the credit through your training and your prep, and you build up a resilience. I was fortunate enough to be a player here for many years and you can look at the group and the player next to you and know that he’s worked on his standards and everything is there to rely on each other.
“It’s a bad year for the club, and many clubs have these years when we’ve had massive success for the last 20 years or whatever, but the important thing is you get to the bottom of how it improves. It needs a reboot, the club will move on in summer in terms of what the squad looks like, and as a Chelsea player where we want to be, everything has to be improved to get to the level.”
When asked what his advice would be to the incoming Mauricio Pochettino, Lampard replied: “I think the squad size is something the club will address and the new manager will understand what I’m saying there in terms of numbers, so I think they’ll look at squad players that it might be time to leave or might want to leave to get the squad right.
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“After that the manager will come in with whatever tactical idea he has. Top managers who are gonna manage Chelsea will have an idea whether it’s formation or style, but I do think that the club – having been here for a long time, a successful period playing and coaching back here – I think there’s a lot of basics, standards and day-to-day training ethics that amongst things that have happened this year have dropped down a level, and I think for me that’s the first thing I would fix.
“Those basics – and I’m not standing here telling the manager what to do – as I’m sure the level of manager coming in is gonna want to see that themselves and address it. But, in my short period, I would say that basic level before you get to tactics needs to step up a gear again.”
Speaking about what he has made of the Chelsea squad during his time in charge, he added: “It is a huge group and that’s been a challenge for me and probably every coach this season because when you work, firstly you know there are ways which you work that the numbers can be a problem practically. Then there’s the collective mindset and spirit of the group and the fact we’ve got a squad of low 30’s, you’re leaving a lot of people at home.
“That’s been challenging. On one part I can see that it can affect players negatively if they fall out of it but on the other part there’s also responsibility for players to show that they should be part of the team – to start or on the bench to come in. I think we’ve had a difficult balance this year and I’ve obviously come in at the back end of that.”
Lampard also spoke about Mount’s situation, with the England midfielder having been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent days.
“I think that’s a difficult situation because from working with Mason – and not just Mason, other players when I was here before – they have either gone on to be really important players for the club that have a real relationship with the fans back and forth, because they really feel the club having been in the academy since eight years of age, and some of them have gone on to other clubs and the club have done well out of that and you wish them well in their careers.
“I think with Mason particularly as an individual, I don’t know what the solution is going to be because it’s the club and Mason’s issue. I don’t know where exactly Mason is at personally, he’s got a year left on his contract. I know he’s held in high regard at the club and I know the club are trying to do what they can to make him stay, but I also think that Mason, I’d never want to stand here in the modern day and talk about what a player should do because they’ll see it all from their own eyes. I think in the old days it would be why are you leaving the club? In the modern day it’s you should move on, and we’ve got into this situation that is happening now.”
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